Tag Archives: how to fish in Arizona

Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

Fall fishing means crankbaits, top-water lures, buzzbaits and jigs drawing increasingly more bass strikes as water temperatures dip. At Bartlett Lake in the Tonto National Forest, the water temperature Saturday was 76 degrees — down about 10 degrees from 2 weeks ago.

This is the also time for flathead catfish. At Bartlett Lake, in particular, they’ll be roaming the waters looking for meals to add some winter fat.

Community catfish news

  • This week, Patterson Ponds (in St. Johns, pictured above), Stone Dam (Ash Fork), Yuma ponds are scheduled to get catfish for the first time this fall. “Core” waters are to be stocked again next week. See the stocking schedule.

Winter trout stocking schedule

Trout Challenge update; Frye Creek closed to fishing

  • We’re also temporarily suspending the requirement for anglers to catch a Gila trout in order to complete the Wild Trout Challenge. With the closure of Frye Creek t here is no longer a wild population of Gila trout open to fishing. See more information about AZGFD’s trout challenges.
  • We’ve closed Frye Creek in the Pinaleno Mountains, southwest of Safford, to fishing to allow for evaluation and restoration of the Gila trout population. We recently surveyed Frye and Ash creeks and did not find any fish. Read more. 

Catch and release season opens at Silver Creek Sunday

  • On Saturday, the catch-and-release season opens — and that means the upper section also opens to fishing for the first time since early spring. This catch-and-release section of Silver Creek requires trout to be immediately released unharmed, and is artificial flies and lures only with single barbless hooks. This segment of Silver Creek is open for fishing from Oct. 1 through March 31 of each year. See more fishing regulations.

Brown trout fall spawn

Brown trout anglers in AZ target fall as one of the best times of the year for this aggressive-fighting species

Keep in mind that brown trout go into their spawning behavior in the fall. Float tubers who are in good shape may want to hike into Chevelon Lake on the Mogollon Rim for the big browns and plentiful ‘bows.

Already, some anglers are hooking into some big brown close to shore — see the Catch of the Week below.

Stocking reports

By  Saturday, we’re scheduled to have stocked the following this week (sign up for I Support Wildlife for up-to-date and confirmed stocking reports):

Canyon Creek, Willow Springs Lake, Woods Canyon Lake, Tonto Creek, Oak Creek.

Previous stockings

Rainbow trout

Friday, Sept. 22 — Woods Canyon Lake, Canyon Creek. Thursday, Sept. 21 — Tonto Creek. Wednesday, Sept. 20 — “core” Community fishing waters.

Brown trout

Thursday, Sept. 14 — Kinnikinick Lake.

See all the stocking schedules

 

Catch of the Week

Send your fishing reports and photos to BFishing@AZGFD.gov —
one will be selected as Catch of the Week.

Reservation Lake

 

Cody T. caught this brown trout from Reservation Lake Sept. 22 on an olive-green bunny leech fly around 4 p.m. near the dam. Along with Jason D., the group reported catching a ton on a silver spinners and olive colored flies and releasing all fish.

See previous Angler Reports

 

Family fishing events

At these free fishing clinics, loaner rods are provided, bait is free, and no license is required for those who register during event hours.

Saturday — “Verde River Days” at Dead Horse State Park in Cottonwood, 8 a.m. to noon, Dead Horse Ranch State Park, 675 Dead Horse Ranch Rd.

While the Verde River Days festivities will go from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., the family fishing will occur from 8 a.m. -noon only. For more information please contact the Sport Fishing Education Program at (623) 236-7240 or go to: http://www.verderiverday.com/.

See the full events schedule.

 

SEE THE FULL REPORT

Arizona Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

The Autumn Equinox, or first day of fall in the northern hemisphere, is today. Accordingly, nighttime temperatures are predicted dip into the low-60s this weekend in desert regions. We’re on a new moon phase, which will be great for using submersible lights at night at striper honey holes such as Lake Pleasant, where large schools of shads are still boiling the surface as they flee from predatory striper.

This transition into fall triggers more exciting changes:

Community catfish return

Catfish were stocked Wednesday into Cortez Lake in Phoenix.
  • Channel catfish returned to the Community Fishing Program waters Wednesday — “core” waters have been stocked except Rio Vista Pond in Peoria and Steele Indian School Pond in Phoenix. See the schedule, which shows which waters are “core.”

Green light: Go Fish

  • Along with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, we’ve released a “green light” list of fish species from specific waters that may be consumed without limits — and that includes all of the channel catfish supplied for the Community Fishing Program. The “green light” list — not to be confused with daily bag limits — also includes ALL trout statewide as well as notables such as largemouth bass at Lake Havasu and flathead catfish on the Colorado River in Yuma. Read more, including the full list.

Winter trout stocking schedule

NHF Day is Saturday

  • Saturday is National Hunting and Fishing Day. Last chance to enter the NHF Day challenge and win some big prizes. Visit www.nhfday.org.

Frye Creek closed to fishing

  • Our Commission has temporarily closed Frye Creek in the Pinaleno Mountains, southwest of Safford, to fishing to allow for evaluation and restoration of the Gila trout population. We recently surveyed Frye and Ash creeks and did not find any fish.

Catch and release season at Silver Creek Oct. 1

  • On Saturday, Oct. 1, the catch-and-release season opens — and that means the upper section also opens to fishing for the first time since early spring. This catch-and-release section of Silver Creek requires trout to be immediately released unharmed, and is artificial flies and lures only with single barbless hooks. This segment of Silver Creek is open for fishing from Oct. 1 through March 31 of each year. See more fishing regulations.

Stocking reports

By  Saturday, we’re scheduled to have stocked the following this week (sign up for I Support Wildlife for real-time and confirmed stocking reports):

Canyon Creek, Willow Springs Lake, Woods Canyon Lake, Goldwater Lake, “core” Community Fishing Program lakes.

Rio Vista Pond, Steele Indian School Pond, Francis Short Pond and Ashurst Lake have not recently been stocked.

Previous stockings

Rainbow trout

Friday, Sept. 15 — Woods Canyon Lake, Canyon Creek. Thursday, Sept. 14 — Goldwater Lake, Tonto Creek. Wednesday, Sept. 13 — Silver Creek, Colorado River.  Monday, Sept. 11 — Lynx Lake, Oak Creek. Friday, Sept. 8 — Willow Springs Lake, Woods Canyon Lake, Canyon Creek. Thursday, Sept. 7 — Tonto Creek.

Brown trout

Thursday, Sept. 14 — Kinnikinick Lake.

See all the stocking schedules

 

Catch of the Week

Send your fishing reports and photos to BFishing@AZGFD.gov —
one will be selected as Catch of the Week.

Canyon Lake

 

Mali caught this 6 1/2-pound largemouth bass from Canyon Lake Sept. 7 around 4 p.m on a crankbait casting to the shore with a steady retrieve in 10-25 feet of water. They were fishing close to the dam.

See previous Angler Reports

 

Save time, buy online

Grab a license online (that helps conserve all species of wildlife, not to mention provides funding that goes back into fishing opportunities) and go.

Family fishing events

At these free fishing clinics, loaner rods are provided, bait is free, and no license is required for those who register during event hours.

Saturday, Sept. 30 — “Verde River Days” at Dead Horse State Park in Cottonwood, 8 a.m. to noon, Dead Horse Ranch State Park, 675 Dead Horse Ranch Rd.

While the Verde River Days festivities will go from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., the family fishing will occur from 8 a.m. -noon only. For more information please contact the Sport Fishing Education Program at (623) 236-7240 or go to: http://www.verderiverday.com/.

See the full events schedule.

 

SEE THE FULL REPORT

Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

Top picks for this full moon weekend are:

  • Colorado River below Davis Dam where Wednesday we stocked 3,175 pounds of rainbow trout at Davis Camp, Community Park, and Rotary Park — the trout averaged more than half a pound each with some fish weighing more than 3 pounds;
  • Night fishing at striper hot spots such as Lake Pleasant, Lake Mead, Lake Mohave and Lake Powell;
  • Lake Havasu for  chasing boils of 1 to 3-pound stripers that are attacking shad during mornings and late afternoons;
  • White Mountains streams (see stocking report below).

In desert regions, it’s late-summer/early fall conditions, which means bass are chasing schools of shad and reaction baits can be a good option (crankbaits, jerkbaits, spinner baits, and so on). Water temperature at Roosevelt Lake recently was in the low-80s.

Get ready for more catfish! They return to Community waters the week of Sept. 18.

Our Fish&Boat Arizona map will show plenty of other options, as well as the locations of those mentioned above.

Vehicular access to C.C. Cragin Reservoir closed

As part of the ongoing renovation of the boating access facilities at C.C. Cragin Reservoir (Blue Ridge Reservoir), the U.S. Forest Service closed vehicular access to the lake beginning the morning of Sept. 6. Access will reopen next spring. Read more.

Catch of the Week

Send your fishing reports and photos to BFishing@AZGFD.gov —
one will be selected as Catch of the Week.

Lake Mead

Golden Valley resident Laura Borden caught this channel cat; the largest catfish she has ever caught,  while fishing off the dock at Temple Bar at Lake Mead. The cat hit on a piece of anchovy and weighed 8.57 pounds.

See previous Angler Reports

Stocking reports

By  Saturday, we’re scheduled to have stocked the following this week (sign up for I Support Wildlife for real-time and confirmed stocking reports):

Silver Creek, East Fork of the Black River, Little Colorado River-Greer, Bear Canyon Lake, Canyon Creek, Tonto Creek, Willow Springs Lake, Woods Canyon Lake, Dogtown Reservoir, Fain Lake, Mingus Lake.

Note: Catfish return to Community waters in late September.

Previous stockings

Rainbow trout

Friday, Sept. 1 — Willow Springs Lake, Woods Canyon Lake, Bear Canyon Lake, Canyon Creek, East Fork of the Black River, Silver Creek.

Channel catfish

Saturday, Aug. 30 — Dead Horse Lake, Lynx Lake, Fain Lake.

See all the stocking schedules

Save time, buy online

Grab a license online (that helps conserve all species of wildlife, not to mention provides funding that goes back into fishing opportunities) and go.

Thank you, anglers!

Arizona fishing opportunities wouldn’t be possible without the Sport Fish Restoration Program. It was created through the Dingell-Johnson Act of 1950 (Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act) and the Wallop-Breaux amendments of 1984. Through a federal excise tax paid by manufacturers on fishing gear and motorboat fuels, it provides funds for fishery conservation, boating access, and aquatic education.

SEE THE FULL REPORT

Fall greetings: new waters to welcome return of Community catfish

He’s the line-ripping, whisker-faced fish with a helmet of steel. Just in time for the return of football season, fall weather, and dove hunting, channel catfish make their return to Community Fishing Program waters.

Mark the week of Sept. 18 for the return of Mr. Whiskers. Be sure to check out the latest Community stocking schedule.

Along with the first catfish stocking of the fall season, we’ll be unveiling a pair of additions to the Community Fishing Program:

Show Low Creek

Located just downstream of Show Low Lake, we’re scheduled to stock this scenic, high country creek with trout in September. (And there’s even a disc golf course nearby.)

The new addition to the Community Fishing Program is the meadow portion of the creek, downstream of Show Low Lake approximately 3 miles, starting near the Hampton Inn & Suites, and running downstream through the large open meadow to the foot bridge at Show Low Bluff Trail.

Trout will be the primary species and stocking is scheduled to occur during September, October, November, March, and April.  Catfish and sunfish will be stocked at least once during the summer months when the temperatures are too warm for trout.

Note that catfish aren’t planned to be stocked into Show Low Creek until next summer.

Greenfield Pond (Mesa)

Located just north of Water Ranch Lake in Gilbert, Greenfield will be stocked with catfish for the first time in November.

Until then we’ll just be stocking forage fish into the pond to serve as a food base for the catfish. Basically, the pond is open to fishing in November.

 

How to catch Community Fishing Program catfish

First of all, all fishing and combo licenses allow the angler to fish with two poles or lines simultaneously (more than two poles may not be used at the same time). So try a couple different baits and stick to what works.

Worms, stink baits, hot dogs, liver and shrimp (anglers can get uncooked saltwater shrimp from some discount stores) all have been known to catch cats.

Try these baits on a hook and sinker setup. Find deeper holes, or fish after dark at parks that are open late.

Pick up a Community Fishing Program guidebook at all AZGFD offices, and grab a license online (Community licenses are $24, valid for 365 days from the date of purchase and conserve wildlife for future generations).

See more details on the Community Fishing Program.

Arizona Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

Stream trout fishing is a great all-around choice. Try the East Fork of the Black River, Show Low Creek just downstream of Show Low Lake, Canyon Creek, Tonto Creek, the Little Colorado River in Greer or Silver Creek (but remember that monsoon storms can bring flooding at all these).

Also, boils are boiling! We’re coming off a new moon, and headed into a first quarter moon — striper fishing should still be bonkers at night at waters such as Lake Mead, Lake Powell and Lake Pleasant.

Who misses Mr. Whiskers? Channel catfish will return to Community Fishing Program waters in late September. Stay tuned: fall fishing is coming soon, and the early dove season begins Friday, Sept. 1.

Finally, check out some  summer-ending fishing tips.

And thank you for your annual fishing license purchases – they go back into fish stocking and management and help conserve all species of wildlife (we receive NO state tax dollars). Grab a license online and conserve wildlife for future generations.

Catch of the Week

Send your fishing reports and photos to BFishing@AZGFD.gov —
one will be selected as Catch of the Week.

Saguaro Lake

Scott Keniston with a 7-pound, 3-ounce largemouth he caught Friday morning at Saguaro Lake on a Roboworm morning dawn with a chartreuse tipped tail — drop shot!

See previous Angler Reports

Stocking reports

By  Saturday, we’re scheduled to have stocked the following this week (sign up for I Support Wildlife for real-time and confirmed stocking reports):
Rainbow trout
Fool Hollow Lake, Show Low Lake, Silver Creek, East Fork Black River, Canyon Creek, East Verde River, Haigler Creek, Tonto Creek, Willow Springs Lake, Woods Canyon Lake, Dogtown Reservoir, Goldwater Lake.

Note: Catfish return to Community waters in late September.

Previous stockings
Rainbow trout

Friday, Aug. 18 — East Verde River, East Fork Black River, Silver Creek, Woods Canyon Lake, Canyon Creek. Thursday, Aug. 17 — Tonto Creek, Haigler Creek, Cataract Lake. Tuesday, Aug. 15 — Oak Creek.  See all the stocking schedules

Save time, buy online

Grab a license online (that helps conserve all species of wildlife, not to mention provides funding that goes back into fishing opportunities) and go.

SEE THE FULL REPORT

Catching fish, keeping cool in Arizona: some tips

If you’re the type of angler who likes sweat-soaked, year-round fishing opportunities in Arizona, here’s a few simple tips to stay safe — and cool:

  • Go early or go late.
  • Don’t go at all (is that an option?)
  • Drink water every 15-20 minutes.
  • Drink something with electrolytes to prevent muscle cramps.
  • Bring your own shade (wide-brimmed hats, shade shelters, etc)
  • Plan a trip to a cooler part of the state. White Mountains, anybody?
  • Get wet. Soaking a handkerchief in the water and keeping it on your head, and under your hat, is a great way to keep your body temperature stable. Anglers also could wrap an evaporative cooling towel around their neck.
  • Know your limits: Summertime might not be the time to try for a personal best.
  • Leave detailed plans with someone (float plan).
  • Sign up for a boating safety class.

We are moving into a new moon, so expect better night fishing than last week.

During the Aug. 29 first quarter moon, there will be just enough moonlight for good visibility, but submersible lights can still do their plankton-attracting jobs. This time also means shooting stars will be highly visible.

Remember to verify the weather conditions before launching and check for updates while fishing during these particularly dark nights.

There are several mobile phone apps available with live weather conditions and emergency weather information. Monsoon storms can happen suddenly and without much warning.

Onto some more tips:

How to fish in Arizona during summer: some tips

Largemouth bass

 

Bartlett Lake bass, like this largemouth, are plentiful.
  • Methods of fishing on the summer heat differs. For desert bass fishing, all methods of tackle must be lightweight — light lines, small hooks and sinkers, etc.  Bites from these lethargic fish will be light, so be patient before setting the hook.
  • Across all statewide desert bass fisheries the next few weeks, plastic worms rigged on Texas rigs, Carolina rigs and dropshots will be the most reliable tactic. Make your leader small – you only want your bait about 5 inches above the weight on a dropshot. During the daytime, make that a bit longer, say, 10-12 inches.

Striped bass

Striped bass bag limits are unlimited at Lake Pleasant. Be sure to check special regulations at other waters.
  • Nighttime fishing gets really good in August with many boats catching anywhere from 50-100 fish a night. This information applies to day fishing also: fish deeper water and don’t forget to chum and have a great light in the water to attract baitfish.
  • If possible, use live bait. Live shad is the ultimate bait and will greatly increase your chances.  When fishing these lakes at night, be sure to think safety all the time. Have lights, a first aid kit, spotlight, cell phone, and also monitor monsoon activity.

Catfish and carp

Some big carp can be caught at night — try corn, which can be used for chum
  • Sticky desert nights are made for bottom-dwelling catfish and carp. Relax on the shoreline, wet a line with some stink bait, corn or both, watch the sky for meteor showers, and hook into Mr. Whiskers at the same time.

Trout

Silver Creek is a great summer, cool-water fishery
  • Best bet is in the White Mountains region, including Silver Creek, East Fork of the Black River, Little Colorado River in Greer or Show Low Creek just downstream of Show Low Lake. Fishing in these streams should be good because of better water quality — as long as the flows are not high due to monsoon rains.

See more about fishing in Arizona

Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

Top picks this week are striped bass at night at Lake Pleasant, trout fishing on the creeks below the Mogollon Rim and at Silver Creek (regulations are catch-and-keep with bait and a six-trout daily limit — the upper section is closed to fishing) and throwing top-water lures early at Lake Mohave.

But don’t count out going for walleye (along with a mixed bag of species) at Show Low Lake or Fool Hollow Lake.

Catch of the Week

Send your fishing reports and photos to BFishing@AZGFD.gov —
one will be selected as Catch of the Week.

Rose Canyon Lake

Mike C. and a group of anglers caught  this mess of rainbow trout  at Rose Canyon Lake near Tucson last Saturday (Aug. 5). Mike said the action came during the morning with PowerBait (green, rainbow, orange) and 18-inch leaders. The group reported landing about 20 in a few hours worth of work.

See previous Angler Reports

Stocking reports

By  Saturday, we’re scheduled to have stocked the following this week (sign up for I Support Wildlife for real-time and confirmed stocking reports):
Rainbow trout
Fool Hollow Lake, Show Low Lake, Silver Creek, East Fork Black River, Bear Canyon Lake, Canyon Creek, East Verde River, Haigler Creek, Tonto Creek, Willow Springs Lake, Woods Canyon Lake, Dogtown Lake, Kaibab Lake.

Previous stockings
Rainbow trout

Friday, Aug. 4 — East Verde River, East Fork Black River, Silver Creek, Woods Canyon Lake, Canyon Creek. Thursday, Aug. 3 — Tonto Creek, Haigler Creek, Show Low Creek. Wednesday, Aug. 2 — Show Low Creek, Canyon Creek. Tuesday, Aug. 1 — Rose Canyon Lake. See all the stocking schedules

Save time, buy online

Grab a license online (that helps conserve all species of wildlife, not to mention provides funding that goes back into fishing opportunities) and go.

SEE THE FULL REPORT

Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

We have released our top-5 family camping and fishing spots for August. Not surprisingly, four of the five spots are in the White Mountains.

See the list along with directions, descriptions and fishing tips galore.

Grab a license online (that helps conserve all species of wildlife, not to mention provides funding that goes back into fishing opportunities) and go.

Catch of the Week

Send your fishing reports and photos to BFishing@AZGFD.gov —
one will be selected as Catch of the Week.

Pena Blanca Lake

Justin B. with a gorgeous 5.6-pound largemouth bass caught Saturday at Pena Blanca Lake. He reported fishing he morning and catching more than 15 bass, mostly 1 pound and under.  The water temperature was 80 degrees.

See previous Angler Reports

Stocking reports

By  Saturday, we’re scheduled to have stocked the following this week (sign up for I Support Wildlife for real-time and confirmed stocking reports):

Rainbow trout

Tonto Creek, Christopher Creek, Haigler Creek, Silver Creek, Canyon Creek.

Previous stockings
Rainbow trout

Monday, July 24 — West Fork Little Colorado River-Greer, Silver Creek, Canyon Creek. Friday, July 21 — Silver Creek, East Fork Black River, Woods Canyon Lake, Willow Springs Lake, Bear Canyon Lake, Canyon Creek. Thursday, July 20 — Tonto Creek, Christopher Creek, Haigler Creek.

See all the stocking schedules

SEE THE FULL REPORT

Top-5 AZ family camping and fishing spots for August

A campfire burns Saturday night, July 22, 2017, at a Woods Canyon Lake Recreation Area campground site off Forest Road 300.

Family fishing and camping during summers in Arizona can produce some of the best memories life can spawn.

What makes for good camping and fishing during triple-digit months of desert sweat? Escaping to the high country for a ton of stocked or self-sustaining fish, quality camping amenities, and scenery that’s as cool as the air temps.

Many fire restrictions have been lifted, allowing campfires and gooey s’mores for kids.

Be safe with summer monsoon storms — get off the water when you hear lightning, watch out for flash flooding, and don’t forget to bring a few extra layers and a rain jacket to stay comfortable in the mountain cold.

OK, here is our top-5 list of family camping and fishing spots. Do you agree?

5. Kaibab Lake

Kaibab Lake is usually the jump off to the Grand Canyon, and has been stocked with some of the quarter-million more trout.

This family-friendly camping area is a few miles from Williams and an hour’s drive from the Grand Canyon to the north.

Anglers are still catching a few trout on a variety of colors of PowerBait with the best fishing being early in the morning.  Try taking kids to catch crappie around the fishing dock on yellow or orange mini-jigs.

Directions: From Flagstaff, take I-40 west to Exit 165; turn north onto AZ 64 and go about 2 miles to the campground entrance on your left. Paved and all-weather gravel roads are suitable for passenger cars (but in winter may be closed at times because of snow).  See a Google map.

4. Show Low Lake (and Show Low Creek)

Show Low Lake is scenic and just an hour from the town of Show Low.

Possibly the state’s premier walleye fishery. Has a year-round concession with 75 campsites (seven have electric hook-ups). New facility improvements, including a new fish cleaning station, restrooms, stairs from the upper parking lot down to the boat launch, and ADA boat trailer parking are now open.

Like Fool Hollow Lake, Show Low lake and creek are great for putting the family on trout, sunfish and crawdads. In addition to the premier walleye, the lake also has smallmouth and largemouth bass, channel catfish, and bluegill, and is stocked regularly through the summer with 12-inch rainbow trout.  Kids can catch sunfish from the fishing piers or among the rocks along the dam with a small hook and piece of worm.

Directions: From Show Low, take Show Low Road southeast one mile from Highway 260.  See a Google map.

3. Fool Hollow Lake

AZGFD biologists regularly stock Fool Hollow Lake with trout.

An excellent fishery for getting the family into the outdoors and onto sunfish and mudbugs (crawdads). Has excellent family-fishing amenities such as clean and spacious campgrounds, picnic areas and fishing piers.

Kids can catch sunfish off piers and over rocky shoreline areas using No. 12 hooks and small pieces of worms. Crawdads can be trapped here as well.  Read more about how to catch both.

The lake has self-sustaining populations of largemouth and smallmouth bass, sunfish, walleye, carp, catfish, black crappie and black bullhead that are easy for kids to catch (try a simple worm on the bottom). Fishing also is good for 12-inch stocked rainbow trout — try fishing at least 10 feet deep.

Directions: Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area is located in east-central Arizona, two miles north of US 60 off Highway 260 in Show Low. See a Google map.

2. Woods Canyon Lake

Woods Canyon Lake has been stocked with aggressive tiger trout.

A family fishing mecca. Woods has been stocked with tiger trout, and along with nearby Willow Springs Lake, is scheduled to be loaded with rainbow trout weekly.

For families who aren’t in to camping in a tent or camper during the summer monsoon storms, the closest lodging is at Forest Lakes Lodge, just 11 1/2 miles away on Highway 260.

A little tip: refuel your automobile at the Rim Resort Filling Station, just a mile east of the Forest Lakes Lodge on Hwy 260. Call 928-535-9682 to ensure it’s open.

At this small town station,  the pumps are “old school”:

Back to fishing. For a novice angler – or for a kid’s first fish – try putting a small piece of a worm on a small hook (No. 12 or smaller) and dangle it in shallow water between rocks for sunfish. Don’t forget about catching crawdads, too.

The best bet for anglers with boats or kayaks (the Woods Canyon Lake Store has boat and canoe/kayak rentals and necessary camping amenities) is to hit the water just before sunrise and troll, or slowly work, small in-line spinners 15 feet deep. Any deeper, and you’re typically fishing below the thermocline where during the summer there is no oxygen.

Anglers could have no problems getting a six trout daily bag limit or hooking into a rod-rattling tiger trout.

Directions: From Phoenix, take Highway 87 (Beeline Highway) northeast to Payson and then Highway 260 east to Forest Road 300 (Rim Road). Then turn north onto paved Forest Road 105 and proceed about a mile to the lake. The lake is about 30 miles east of Payson. See a Google map.

1. Big Lake

An Arizona summertime family staple.

Cutthroats have been biting on and off, and there are plenty of rainbow trout along with lots of crawdads for kids if the trout are not biting. The best part may be the excellent and plentiful campground amenities.

Shore-angling is still an option, but as the summer goes along, you might want a boat (rentals are available at the store) because most trout will be deep.

Trolling from a boat is the most productive method during the summer.  If shore fishing, get out early or late in the day, and take cover in your vehicle or camp during monsoon/lightning storms.

Directions: Big Lake is accessed via state routes 260 and 273 (Forest Road 113).  See a Google map.

 


Remember to check fire restrictions, as well as any special regulations, that are in place.

So grab a license online (that helps conserve all species of wildlife, not to mention provides funding that goes back into fishing opportunities) and go.

You won’t regret the memories.

Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

The Coconino National Forest has dropped to Stage I fire restrictions. Time to camp at Ashurst Lake (one of the spots where we’ve stocked some of the quarter-million more fish) or Forked Pine Campgrounds, and grill up some fresh trout like these:

This week, some other hot spots that have received trout are:

  • Dogtown Lake, Kaibab Lake, Lower Lake Mary and Kinnikinick Lake in the Flagstaff/Williams area. With the warmer weather, the fishing is starting to slow down but is still good early in the morning and late in the evening on Ashurst, Kaibab and Dogtown.  Folks are catching big trout on Lower Lake Mary early in the morning and late in the evening out of boats and float tubes;
  • Goldwater Lake and scenic Oak Creek in the Prescott/Sedona region;
  • White Mountains/Mogollon Rim region: Silver Creek, West Fork of the Little Colorado River in Greer, Silver Creek, Fool Hollow Lake, Show Low Lake, Woods Canyon Lake, Willow Springs Lake and all the family-friendly creeks below the Mogollon Rim.

Striped bass story

Striped bass fishing is excellent at Lake Powell. Some of the best top-water boils have been at Lake  Mead, and striper fishing is also good at Willow Beach on the Colorado River and Lake Mohave. The top-water striper bite at Lake Pleasant has been slow. Look for striper fishing to pick up through the summer and fall.

Bass battle at the Alamo

At Alamo Lake, things are getting back to normal with bass fishing.  There’s a decent top-water bite going from 4:30 a.m. until around 6 a.m.  Then switch to crankbaits or plastics.

By the way, Bartlett Lake has had the most consistent bass fishing in the Phoenix area.  See the full report for details.

A Big deal

At Big Lake, anglers are catching some big rainbow trout to 4 pounds primarily on PowerBait. Fish are moving deeper but anglers still can reach them from shore. It’s quality over quantity right now at Big Lake.

Gateway to AZ adventure

Save time and buy online. Grab your gear and that fishing license24/7, and get ready for a pine-scented (or maybe bass-busting) weekend!

Catch of the Week

Send your fishing reports and photos to BFishing@AZGFD.gov — one will be selected as Catch of the Week.

Craig A. caught some big rainbow trout Wednesday morning under clear skies trolling blue cowbells deep. Another successful technique was dropping nightcrawlers right off the bottom.

See previous Angler Reports

Notable wildfire openings/closures

  • Access to Black Canyon Lake has been reopened (Gentry Fire).
  • Access to Riggs Flat Lake, Frye Mesa Reservoir and Ash Creek is closed due to the Frye Fire.
  • The popular Lynx Lake North Shore and South Shore Day Use Sites have re-opened (Goodwin Fire).  The bald eagle closure at Lynx has been lifted.

Stocking report

Rainbow trout

Friday, July 7 — East Verde River, East Fork Black River, Show Low Lake, Woods Canyon Lake, Willow Springs Lake.

Thursday, July 6 — Tonto Creek, Christopher Creek, Haigler Creek.

Monday, July 3 — West Fork Little Colorado River-Greer, Silver Creek, Canyon Creek, Cataract Lake, Goldwater Lake, Oak Creek.

SEE THE FULL REPORT